Ordinary Time by Chris Ireland
April 6 - April 28, 2018
Reception: April 6, 2018; 6 - 9pm
I first heard the term, Ordinary Time, sitting at church with my Mother every Sunday morning. It refers to any week of the Catholic liturgical year that is not associated with Easter or Christmas. On those days, there were no decorations, carols, candy, or gathering in front of the camera to take pictures for the family album. At the beginning of the service, the pastor would count each week of Ordinary Time until the year had past. I spent countless ordinary Sundays with my mom, so many that those memories formed a forgettable continuum. Waking up, making toaster waffles, going to church, doing homework, watching football…much of my family experience has been organized around routines, a series of set pieces that are reenacted daily and on schedule by the hour.
I used to joke with friends that at any particular time of day, I could accurately predict where my family was, exactly what they were doing, eating, watching, etc. In 2006, I started to take photos of the ordinary daily minutia surrounding my mother, father, and brother who still resided in the same home I grew up in on 8867 Edgehill Road. At that time, observing my family’s routine felt like a comforting exercise in nostalgia, as I had struggled to define myself my first few years away from home. In 2016, I returned home more often, not long after an accident involving my mother that left her alive but permanently brain damaged. The images in this series are moments in time, separated by 10 years that show the daily patterns and rhythms of life that do not necessarily change, but adapt to alterations in the family dynamic.
The house on 8867 Edgehill Road that contained all of my nostalgic childhood memories depicted in family albums is cracking and slowly aging, just like our old Chevy Station Wagon that eventually stopped running, and just like my mom’s deteriorated mental state. My brother and father, who both suffer from mental disorders since birth, still inhabit the same space and are struggling to cope emotionally. Yet, the absence of one or multiple family members has never altered the routines of daily life. To be present with my family as a member and as a photographer, only requires me to accept my role and participate in those rituals with them. This is my way of doing it.